Gangtok: Sikkim chief minister Prem Singh Golay on Sunday made a visit to the three designated COVID-19 care centres to take stock of the state’s preparedness in containing the second wave of the novel coronavirus.

Golay began his tour from Paljor Stadium, followed by a visit to the two designated floors for COVID-19 treatment at STNM Hospital in Gangtok. Later, he went to Khelgaon in Reshithang and finally to Saramsa Garden, all of which are going to be dedicated COVID-19 care centres.

While a 30-bedded COVID-19 care centre has been set up on a three-storey sports department building in Khelgaon, an 80-bedded facility is in place at Saramsa Garden.

In Paljor Stadium, the gymnasium hall has room for more expansion and was kept with floating numbers in case of a crisis.

Speaking with media persons, Golay asserted that STNM Hospital has 120 beds and 120 private cabins, besides dedicated the 8th and 9th floors for COVID-19 care. “We have around 300 beds in STNM Hospital. 100 in CRH, along with the district hospitals,” he added.

Commenting on the COVID-19 care centres, the CM said: “Paljor Stadium was used as a COVID-19 care centre earlier too. We are also using Khelgaon in Reshithang, while a devoted COVID-19 care centre will be set up in Saramsa Garden for women. There are only around 100 admitted patients in STNM Hospital. There are still 200 beds available.”

Golay urged the public not to create a panic situation and requested the aymptomatic COVID-19 patients not to get admitted to hospitals. “Asymptomatic patients must be quarantined at home. Doctors will monitor and look after their wellbeing. But if they face breathing concerns or if their oxygen levels drop, they can be admitted,” he said.

While the state government is providing beds and mattresses at the COVID-19 care centres, patients need to only bring their pillows, bedsheets and blankets, Golay said, adding that food will be ensured by the centres along with medicines.

Also read: Sikkim COVID-19: STNM Hospital adds 115 beds, workforce a big concern

On concerns of lockdown with the rising number of cases, Golay said, “There is no lockdown being considered. The cases are rising but to break the chain, government offices have been shut till May 7, along with weekend lockdown of commercial spaces.”

The state has enough Remedesivir injections, oxygen supply and manpower, he added.

“Last year, due to lockdown and various COVID-19 protocols, vehicles maintained social distancing with 50% occupancy. They faced a lot of losses. There is no situation like that yet,” he said, adding: “Self-awareness and wearing masks are the best way to counter. We want to curtail the surge in cases and also continue with the economy.”

On the allegation of a patient dying for want of an ICU bed, a story that was pursued by EastMojo, the CM said, “We have sufficient ICU beds. There is no allegation like that [patient didn’t get an ICU bed on time].

There must be a reason, said Golay. “The administration along with doctors are working and fulfilling all the requirements of oxygen, ventilator or ICU,” he added.

On the need of more workforce, the CM said, “We created 40 posts of medical officers last year. We relaxed the rules, we had walk-in interviews and there was no reservation. Once again, we will appoint more doctors, specialist doctors and their salaries will be enhanced. Notification will be issued, specialist doctors working in other hospitals will be encouraged to work in the government hospitals.”

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